For once, it is not only the moonlight that illuminates the night sky. For a few seconds, the great experiment of the flame color reaction on the campus of the jet-black sky bloomed into a large, colorful flower.
But that doesn’t mean that we should look at the fireworks and say that red means lithium, purple means potassium, yellow means sodium, and so on. It is a bad habit for boys to talk about such things with pride.
A girl who watches fireworks and says, “It’s beautiful,” is not looking for such chemical reaction talk. This kind of temperature difference may be the difference between men and women. Only fireworks. This is another thing that my sister taught me a long time ago. I’m slowly learning.
After leaving the summer festival, I went home, changed into my jersey and went out for a run, which is my daily routine. I mustn’t miss my daily training. On the way there, fireworks started, but I found it dull to watch them by myself.
Without stopping to look up, I continued my run in silence. At the end of the day, as with any festival, this kind of thing forms a kind of community, a place for communication. If there is no one to enjoy it with, it is meaningless. It’s all about having fun with someone else.
I was embarrassed that I had mistakenly thought I was invited to a summer festival, but it wasn’t something I would participate in alone.
A steady rhythm cleared my thoughts. They say that the history of man and horse goes back to 3,500 years BC, but zebras and I are not close. Perhaps human relationships are like that, too. So close, yet so far. Similar, yet different. Known but unknown. Apparently, zebras are more temperamental than horses, despite their appearance.
Even though it was night, it was still hot. I exhaled slowly to loosen my body from the heat and exercise, and switched to a gentle walk. By that time, the loud noise that pierced the night sky was no longer to be heard. The fireworks display seemed to be over.
I took my time to return to my apartment and found someone sitting at the entrance. She looked very exhausted. She was wearing a yukata, so she must have come back from the festival. If that’s the case, I don’t know why she’s here.
I don’t have many neighbors, but I still think it’s necessary to at least say hello, and as I walked past her, I realized that I knew her well.
“What are you doing here?” (Yuki)
Why is Hinagi here?
Her hair was a mess, and her yukata was falling apart. She looked like a stray cat that had been abandoned, and there she was. I couldn’t ignore her, so I called out to her and she looked up from her drooping position.
“……Yukito? Yukito?! —–Ow!” (Hinagi)
She was about to hug me vigorously, but she lost her stance. As soon as I caught her, her moist eyes recognized me. The hand that was grabbing me was trembling.
“I’m sorry! I tried to contact you…… but I couldn’t get through, and he–! But this time–!”
The words that poured out of me like a muddy stream were incomprehensible. If Hinagi is here, does that mean that Hinagi was really asking me out? Wasn’t it a miscommunication? Then I realized.
Haha, I see. Now you’re double-booking me, aren’t you?
What if I had plans from the start? It would make sense if the first appointment was delayed and he didn’t show up on time.
–That’s ridiculous. Throw away your silly fantasy. What does it matter if it makes sense? What is this double-booking nonsense? In the past, I might have been self-contained in such a way, but the fact that Hinagi Suzurikawa is in a state of emergency does not allow me to do so.
Look at the other person. Look at their expression, their attitude, their behavior. It’s not supposed to be. There must be a reason why she is here now.
As I stroked her back to calm her down, I could feel her body heat directly through the thin fabric of her yukata. Her face relaxed as if relieved, but for a moment it was distorted in pain. When I looked down, I saw that the tips of her toes, where she was wearing clogs, had turned red.
“You’re hurt.” (Yuki)
“Get on.” (Yuki)
“We’ll talk about it later.” (Yuki)
I carried Hinagi on my back and headed for my room.
It’s a painful strategy, but it can’t be helped. For some reason, my mother and sister don’t like to let outsiders into our home. Maybe it’s a kind of sanctuary. To be honest, I was afraid of what might happen later, but this was not the time to worry about it. It was an emergency evacuation. I’m sure my mom and sister will forgive me.…… Please, please forgive me!
“Welcome back. I’m sorry I’m late.…… Oh, Hinagi-chan?” (Mother)
“I’m sorry, Sakuraba-san.” (Hinagi)
“I just picked up a stray childhood friend over there.” (Yuki)
“What? What happened……?” (Yuri)
My sister shows her face from the back. Immediately, wrinkles appear between the eyebrows, and the line of sight changes to a strict one.
“Wait! That’s a stray? Why is she here?” (Yuri)
“I’ll let her go as soon as I take care of her injuries!” (Yuki)
“Injury…… I won’t forgive you if you do anything strange in the house. I don’t even know what time it is.” (Yuri)
“Would it be better if it was outside the house?” (Yuki)
“No, of course not!” (Yuri)
“………… So, what if it was Nee-san?” (Yuki)
“It’s possible.” (Yuri)
“It’s my defeat1” (Yuki)
I restrained the guard dog from biting me at any moment and went back to my room. It was obvious that this was going to happen. I don’t know why, but my sister really dislikes Hinagi. In the past, there was no such thing, but is there some kind of feud?
In fact, I feel like my sister hates most people, and I’m worried about her relationships with people like that. In fact, she is very popular at school, so it would be unreasonable for me to worry about her.
I sat Hinagi down on the unnecessarily large bed and hurriedly took out the first aid kit. There is no time to spare.
“Listen, Hinagi. I’ll tell you more later. This is my room, but it’s not private. I don’t have a key or anything. The scary people will be here soon, so let’s just get this over with.” (Yuki)
I take out the disinfectant and bandages. The skin between her toes was cracked and red.
“You’re not used to wearing clogs, so take it easy.” (Yuki)
“I’ve run all the way here…….” (Hinagi)
“Do you have any other pain?” (Yuki)
“Just my feet.…… I think. Sorry.”
I carefully apply the disinfectant to the affected area so that it hurts as little as possible, but it must be stained. She screamed in agony. However, I had no choice but to ask her to be patient.
I smiled inwardly at her deja vu behavior, as if I was recreating a scene from some time ago.
“You’re always hurting your feet.” (Yuki)
“…… That’s the second time. That’s how I got it.” (Hinagi)
“Don’t be so downhearted. Well your feet may stink but you can still be confident. ” (Yuki)
“What did you say? It smells? Hey, do my feet stink?” (Hinagi)
I tried to cheer her up by talking lightly to her, but it had the opposite effect. Her cheeks turned red and she was furious. Her neck is tightened, but she doesn’t care and spreads the bandages quickly.
“That thing about hopping giving you dropsy is a lie. I’ve never heard of it.” (Yuki)
“Don’t think you can fool me with that tangent! Hey, what about it!? I’m barefoot today, and I even took a bath right before!” (Hinagi)
“As for me, I think the idea that hula hooping can cause bowel spasms is a myth.” (Yuki)
“It smells good, right? Even the deodorant spray smells good. So does it stink?! Does it stink?!” (Hinagi)
“I told you I can’t smell it.” (Yuki)
“Then don’t say anything to make me feel uneasy!” (Hinagi)
While Hinagi was making some kind of protest – or excuse – the treatment was over. It took only ten minutes.
“There, it’s over. Let’s get you home. I’ll take you home like this.” (Yuki)
“Wait a minute, Yukito!” (Hinagi)
I carried the Hinagi on my back again. The time was around 10pm. Her parents must be worried about her. She had injured her leg, of course. I can’t let her go home alone at this hour, much less let her stay the night. I need to send her back as soon as possible.
I opened the door with a bang, and sure enough, my family was sticking tightly to the door listening. Scary!
“I’ve finished treating my stray childhood friend, so I’m just going to let her go.” (Yuki)
“Just throw the stray out.” (Yuri)
“It’s too outrageous.” (Yuki)
“Are you all right, Hinagi-chan?” (Mother)
“Yes, ……. I’m sorry to bother you at this hour.”(Hinagi)
“You know if you do anything weird and come home late, right? You’ll wake up dreamy tomorrow morning.” (Yuki)
“What will they do to me? Throb.” (Hinagi)
“Fue. That’s what I’m counting on. I will be the morning f–” (Yuri)
“Aaahh! You can’t do that, Yuri-san!” (Hinagi)
” Ah?!” (Yuri)
“Let’s go before the beast gets out of control.” (Yuki)
I’m going to get out of here as fast as I can. They are truly water and oil, like dogs and monkeys. But I wonder, do dogs and monkeys really get along that badly? If that’s the case, I wonder if Momotaro was concerned about his henchmen’s strained relationships. It’s a hard world to be a hero in.
“…… Uhm! I can walk by myself.” (Hinagi)
After a short walk out of the apartment, Hinagi finally realized what kind of condition she was in. I’m not going to say what it is, but for me it’s a benefit, and I have no problem staying in this state until I run out of energy. She used to be a tiny little girl, but now she’s a fine woman.
“Stay quiet until I get tired.” (Yuki)
“–…… Un” (Hinagi)
It was quiet, as if it had been a lie that it had been so noisy a few hours ago. I wondered if the fireworks and the summer festival had even really happened. The only thing I could hear was Hinagi’s voice murmuring over my back.
“You didn’t get to see the fireworks, did you?” (Hinagi)
“I wanted to go around the summer festival with you, but …… I ruined it again myself.” (Hinagi)
“I see” (Yuki)
I just took in the words that were being spewed out without hesitation. I don’t want to interrupt her in any way. There is no need for her to lie or make excuses. There was no intent to deceive, no malice, and what was being said was the truth, the genuine thoughts of Hinagi Suzurikawa.
–Hinagi had changed.
She was very honest. No mending, no pretending, no embellishment of her own words. It was unbelievable to see how much she had changed. No, maybe it’s not that she changed, but that she regained it. She has regained her honest, single-minded self.
If that’s the case, can I believe that I too can regain something that I’ve lost? Just like her. What I had in the past.
“When I went to the meeting place ……, Yukito was already gone, and I couldn’t get in touch with you. I didn’t know what to do, so I found myself running to Yukito’s house.” (Hinagi)
When I checked my phone after all this time, I found many incoming calls and messages from Hinagi. I guess I didn’t notice them while I was running because I was always on silent mode.
“No, you’re not in the wrong. It was my fault for being late in the first place. I should have called you right away. I don’t know when it started. No matter what I did, it didn’t work out, and nothing I wanted came true. I just keep wishing and always fail to get it.” (Hinagi)
She whispered softly in my ear.
————–I love you——————–
The words were abrupt and too simple.
At this close range, there was no room for misunderstanding or pretending to be hard of hearing. It was impossible to fool myself with an impossible slanted conclusion.
“You were supposed to be next to me, but somehow I followed your back. I was going to give up, you know? I kept getting weaker and weaker, but you kept getting stronger and stronger. Before I knew it, the distance between us had grown to the point where I couldn’t see you. It was too late. I’ve been having all these regrets.” (Hinagi)
–Hinagi Suzurikawa became stronger.
It’s really inexplicably dazzling.
The words magically shaped her into the person she is today.
“I won’t let our misunderstandings happen. I won’t let you say that you don’t understand my feelings. No matter what answer you choose, as long as my feelings are conveyed to you straight away, I’ll not regret it.” (Hinagi)
I felt as if I was being taught that people can change.
Himiyama-san, Shiori, and Hinagi. Even my sister and mother. Everyone is trying to change. Maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t changed. I feel isolated, like I’m being left behind.
“You’ve changed too, Yukito.” (Hinagi)
“Is that so?” (Yuki)
“I feel like you’re watching me more than before.” (Hinagi)
“Maybe it’s because I’m eating more blueberries.” (Yuki)
“I’m not talking about your eyesight, you idiot. I’m the one who’s really stupid at ……. I was about to make another mistake. I decided not to make that mistake again. I’m really a helpless idiot. You’re on your own, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” (Hinagi)
I’ve realized something now.
I was planning to avoid her. Hinagi had the freedom to seek her own happiness. I couldn’t take that time away from her, that’s what I thought.
But I’m sure I can’t convince the current Hinagi Suzurikawa. I would understand that no conclusions or words that I came up with right now would convince her.
It’s a myth that has been spun by countless predecessors, and has been created in tens of thousands of ways.
The “childhood friend” is undoubtedly the absolute heroine.
“I’m going to tell you everything that happened today. I want you to listen to me. There’s something I want to talk to you about. If it’s just me, I don’t know what to do, but if it’s just the two of us, I’m not afraid.” (Hinagi)
I remember when we were in elementary school. There was nothing to hide between us. That’s how we moved forward. It was like a phantom relationship that somehow disappeared. I just remember the time when we were childhood friends.
“Now that I have enjoyed the sensation, can I drop you now?”(Yuki)
“…… Idiot.” (Hinagi)
- “Yes, defeat!” means to defeat or defeat an opponent’s opinion with one’s own explanation. In most cases, this is expressed in a sarcastic tone or attitude.
The term “debate” was popularized in the popular series of the TV program “Gekkai TV Sukatto Japan”. The term has become popular.